Colville High School cross-country standout Kevin Carpenter finished 34th in the boy’s intermediate division of last Saturday’s 2011 USATF National Junior Olympic Cross-Country Championships at Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Carpenter, who helped lead the CHS cross-country team of Dean Fischer to its second straight Class 1A runner-up finish last month in Pasco, turned in a time of 16:33.04 over the flat, fast Whispering Pines Golf Course track, located a half-mile from the Atlantic Ocean.
More than 2,400 young athletes who advanced through association and regional championships competed at Myrtle Beach.
This was the second time the tourist mecca of Myrtle Beach has hosted a USATF national championship this year. In July, Myrtle Beach played host to the USA Youth Outdoor Track & Field Championships and World Youth Track & Field Trials.
Twelve championship races were run on Dec. 10: sub bantam (8 and under), racing 2km; bantam (9-10), racing 3 km; midget (11-12), racing 3 km; youth (13-14), racing 4 km; intermediate (15-16), racing 5 km; and young men/women (17-18), racing 5 km.
“The experience was great; going against the best in the country is always a good test,” Carpenter said of his Myrtle Beach experience.
“Since I ran just two seconds behind my state time (16:31) and finished in the top 40, that made me pretty happy and put a nice cap on my sophomore season.”
Carpenter said he was just happy to have been able to qualify for such a prestigious meet.
“Before (the race) and when I was running, I didn’t really see the magnitude of the race. I treated it like any race during the (high school cross-country) season. But I had a good race plan coming in.”
In the off-season, Carpenter says he plans to run three or four times a week around his academic and high school basketball schedule at CHS. He’ll run track in the spring.
“I plan to put in about 200 miles until the start of track from this point on,” Carpenter says, confidently adding that he plans to “take our team to state my junior season, run in the 15’s and place (on the podium) at state again…and beat (Lakeside standout) Ryan Coffman.”
Carpenter’s very good 34th place finish in his first national race came in a field of almost 200 runners. His 16:33 finish was about 17 seconds off the time needed to be designated as an All-American (top 25 finish).